School Uniforms: An Op/Ed

Kya Gooch, Reporter

For many students, waking up early in the morning for the school day and throwing on their boring, mandatory uniform is routine. This uniform is a way to make students conform to a certain standard. Students lose their ability to express themselves, and are forced to dress the exact same way as their peers. This is a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that all individuals have the right to express themselves freely. 

School should be a great opportunity for students to figure out the things that give them individuality. Schools restricting what students can and can not wear is just promoting conformity over individuality. At many schools who have a uniform, they are specific to gender, where girls wear skirts and boys wear pants. This can leave out students who are transgender, gender-fluid, or gender-nonconforming. 

Although many people who are for school uniforms believe they will help raise grades, it has actually been found that school uniforms have made academic achievement decrease according to David Brunsma, a professor of sociology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. It was found that the introduction of uniforms either made no or bad effects on grades. 

Many schools who introduce a uniform are located in places that have a lower-class population, to try and help students feel like they fit in more. This actually emphasizes the economic classes that the school is trying to eliminate. For example, wealthier families are more likely to buy more uniforms for their students, perhaps in different color options and styles, whereas a lower-class family might only be able to afford one uniform, which can begin to show how much it has been worn early on in the school year. 

In general, uniforms do nothing to help students who despise wearing them every day. A 2017 survey at Washington High School in South Bend, Indiana, shows that since implementing a uniform enrollment has decreased by 43 percent. 82 percent of the current students at Washington High School opposed uniforms. On top of that, they negatively affect students’ self-image. Rather than being able to choose an outfit that makes you feel good or suits your body type, you are forced to wear a general outfit that might work for some students, but not nearly enough. Students are left feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable in their uniforms. 

Overall, school mandated uniforms are useless and negative for students. They do nothing to increase academic achievement and take away students’ ability to express themselves. 

Interested in the other side of the story? Check out Tayonna Henderson’s opinion on why school uniforms should be required